Dolls and Drama
Picture this. You walk into a small neighborhood theater. The stage is set as a workshop, with a single, lifelike doll on the bench, a microscope projecting its blue eye on a screen. Doll parts line the shelves. As the play opens, Kelly is huddled over the doll, working on the detail of the eye. A customer named Emily, a woman in her fifties, arrives to see the Reborn Baby that Kelly is making for her. As they are talking, Daizy, her boyfriend enters stage right with a huge false phallus hanging from his fly. It will turn out that while Kelly is crafting perfect replicas of babies from latex, Daizy is doing the same for penises. Provided you’re not easily offended, you figure this must be an edgy comedy about crazy women who buy dolls and dildos. But you’d be wrong. It’s edgy, all right, and it has its darkly humorous moments but it’s a drama about the effects of infant abuse and infant death on adult women. It’s Anaheim Hill’s own Chance Theater’s premiere of Reborning by Zayd Dohrn.
Kelly was brutally abused as an infant and abandoned in a dumpster as a baby, and Emily wants a perfect replica of own infant. As Emily becomes increasingly demanding regarding the details of her doll, Kelly becomes obsessed not only with the doll but with the idea that Emily is the mother that abandoned her. In one of the most dramatic moments I’ve seen in a play, the dolls eye projected on the wall blinks, sending Kelly into a nearly catatonic state. Daizy, unable to help Kelly on her own, recruits a reluctant Emily to tell Kelly that she isn’t her mother. In a climactic scene that left me sobbing, Kelly confronts her own abandonment and Emily the death of her infant child with the Reborn Baby symbolizing both. It was wonderful if disturbing theater.
I had never heard of Reborn Babies until I read about them on Cheryl’s blog in a Top Sites Tuesday post. I was inclined to agree with her that the “babies” were creepy looking … but not as creepy as the women who treated their babies like real children, providing them with their own rooms and walking them in strollers. And I’m not alone … nearly every internet article that isn’t an advertisement asks the question, Are they cute or creepy? The police that broke into a car to rescue a Reborn probably aren’t fond of the little buggers, either. But the hundreds advertised on websites and on eBay show that a lot of people think they are cute. And Reborning gave serious consideration to the possibility that these artificial infants can tap dark places in a woman’s soul and bring them into the light.
So, yeah, it’s another Top Sites Tuesday, Number 150 to be exact and here are my Two Thoughts on Tuesday. Thought One – There is nothing quite like good theater and the Chance theater is consistently excellent. If you’re ever in North Orange County, give them a try. Thought Number Two is that after watching a Reborn Baby’s blink unhinge poor Kelly, they’ll always seem creepy to me. So, after pushing my button to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #150, why don’t you tell me what you think.
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